The Things He Shattered

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 6 (v.1)

Submitted: April 12, 2013

Reads: 553

Comments: 20

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 12, 2013

A A A

A A A

 

34

One day, on a Tuesday, I came to find Robbie typing up a storm on one of the store computers. He looked up at me an said "Hi," but there was nothing cheerful about this.

"Hey. What’s going on?" I proceeded.

"Had enough Kar. Today is the last day. I’m writing head office to tell them how Stephan’s been conducting himself." Well, I’ll admit I don’t remember what word he used, but ‘conducting’ was not it. Something like it. He was cute, not bright. Sometimes you can’t have both.

"So Kar, when I finish I want you to read it. If you can, can you proof read it before I send it off to head office? Put in anything I left out as well, although I think I covered most of everything. So can you proof read it English major?"

"English specialist." I said nodding. This produced a blank look.

"It’s higher than a major..."

"Okay... in any case your English is good, so just look over it."

He stepped to the side and I began to read. Yes there were spelling mistakes and some grammatical errors. It became obvious that he had a habit of putting in capital letters where they didn’t belong. He would start words off with capitals in the middle of sentences, or throw in a capital letter in the middle of a word, but that’s what I was here to fix, and the gist of the e-mail was very good in my opinion. I corrected everything that needed it and told Robbie I was finished so he could check it over and send it.

"Just click ‘send’. I know you fixed up whatever needed to be fixed, so that in head office it’ll look more believable to them."

"Alright," I said and clicked ‘send’. And there was no taking it back. The letter was something I would never have the courage to write. I would have continued to let Stephan abuse the crap out of me, and stand by watching him degrade Robbie. All because I was afraid that in the end it would jeopardize my paycheck. But Robbie was the superior here, and he acted the part. I looked at him with pride. I was just the backup grammar police.

 

The next day I got off the bus to head to work, and right away noticed that Stephan’s vehicle was not parked outside our store like it should have been. There was a police car instead. I walked into the store and found Robbie and Stephan’s boss, Ralf, speaking. Ralf was the head manager, and I had only seen him a couple of times because he was always working in head office. They both spotted me and Ralf said,

"Karina, I need to speak to you. Robbie, you’ll be okay keeping an eye on everything for a moment, right?"

"Yeah, of course."

"Okay Karina, lets step into the back. We need to talk."

So at the back of the store we found a place to sit.

"Karina. This is about an e-mail Robbie sent me yesterday. It was extremely disturbing. We had to take action immediately. Are you aware that Robbie wrote us an e-mail concerning Stephan?"

"Yes. I read it. I stand 100% behind everything he said. I did not have the courage to bring up the issues myself, so I’m very grateful that Robbie did."

"Do you confirm that Robbie’s statement was truthful?"

"Absolutely."

Ralf looked uncomfortable and fiddled with a pen in his hands.

"I’m extremely sorry you went through that. It’s unacceptable you were treated in such a manner. Robbie had also mentioned that Stephan would often take stabs at you because of your background?"

"Yes. He had a field day with the fact that I was born in Russia. It was never all that bad. He would just poke fun at me, mentioning things like vodka and hockey. He didn’t have a lot to go on about, he just mostly focused on Robbie. So what’s gonna happen now?"

"I came in this morning with a police officer and Garth, the other head manager to speak to Stephan before the store was to be opened. We all went to Tim Hortons, because we felt that if Stephan was going to make a scene, at least we would be in a public place. We told him about the letter Robbie had written and he went extremely pale. There was a moment where he looked like he was going to pass out. Then he began denying it right away."

"Of course he would."

"He explained that Robbie felt threatened by his sales technique and wanted him gone, and if you went along with this, your only reason was that Robbie was your superior technically, and you had to agree with whatever he requested of you. But... it was just his reaction... he was terrified. It became obvious that Robbie’s e-mail had at least some validity."

"Everything Robbie wrote was true. I read it. So is Stephan suspended?"

"Oh goodness no! He’s fired. We want someone like that gone. So we’ll have the police officer stay in front of the store for a week in case Stephan decides to drop by. But I have a feeling he won’t. But just in case."

"Wow! I didn’t expect this. I thought he would just get a talking to."

"Karina. His behavior was beyond serious. It was abuse, and he was the manager. He is in no way allowed to come back. Ever. I’m just extremely sorry you and Robbie had to go through all of that."

"I needed the job. It was hard watching Robbie take so much abuse. He got it worse than me."

"I can’t even imagine." Ralf shook his head with great sympathy.

Stephan was gone forever. For however long I’d have to live, I had a feeling I would never see his face again, and I then felt a strong sense of relief.

When we were alone I hugged Robbie. I felt guilt for having to do that to Stephan, because after all, this job had been his life, and he took immense pride in it. Although he brought Robbie and me a lot of pain, I thought that his punishment was severe. I felt a sense of liberation however, knowing that I could go to work and not see him or have to hear about the Russian mafia, and his hypothesis on how I was one of them, or how huge my butt was, followed by my nose. That was over.

 

 

35

Things between Jeremy and me were going well for the most part. He seemed to be trying very hard to make our relationship work. But my heart was no longer in it, like it had been before. He had his chance a year ago, but didn’t take it. So despite our efforts, I could no longer become emotionally attached to him. Most Thursday and Friday evenings I would meet up with him. and we would spend the evening lying in bed watching TV. And I was happy. He seemed to be very thankful that I was back in his life.

At some point the company I worked for was not doing too well. As a result, work hours for almost all employees were cut. I was no longer working 6 days a week but 5, which amounted to roughly 29 hours. I had hope that one day I would become a full-time employee again, but I was happy with the free time I had. Plus, Jeremy was a complete gentleman and would insist on paying for everything, so money for me was not a big issue.

One day I went to a small concert with two of my close friends to see a local band perform in Toronto. One of my friends Nadia, just happened to be a co-worker and an acquaintance of the lead singer of the band that was to perform. My other friend was James, who I had become very close to. I liked the lead singer right away. He played left handed guitar and since I was a lefty myself I liked him by default. After the band was done I asked Nadia to introduce him to me. She did, and he seemed to take a liking to me right away. When Nadia and James said it was time to go home, I told them that I had no intention to do that anytime soon. I planned to get to know the lead singer better, so I told my friends I would see them another time, and they left. I sat at the bar and talked to Oren. We hit it off, and he kissed me. After some time he drove me home all the way to the city I lived in, as it was already very late. I didn’t know if public transportation was even running at that hour. We said our goodbyes and were happy we met. To this day we still contact each other. I decided Jeremy would never know about this. If I told him anything, he would imagine that certain things happened, that didn’t happen.

The next day Nadia informed me that she would never speak to me again, because Oren was her co-worker and she felt ashamed that she would have to explain to everyone what happened. I wasn’t sure what she was talking about. If I didn’t know any better, I would think she was Oren’s wife, and being very insolent, I decided to just interrupt his performance, and screw him on stage as the audience watched. James told me he felt that she was completely overreacting, and I could not agree more.

Oren would e-mail me wanting to know if I was up for doing anything. I had to decline. I knew Jeremy would never approve. If I met up with Oren, I would be asking for it to lead to something that was not innocent.

 

 

36

At work they had cut down my hours even more. There was now a new store manager. A young man (well, younger then me), named Aziz was hired. We quickly became friends. And so now we get to where it all begins.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I asked to be laid off. And so I was. That is when I would experience the happiest 4 months of my life. I decided that it was time for a change in my relationship as well. I didn’t want a relationship, and I didn’t want a job. One day I told Jeremy I no longer wanted to continue seeing him. He didn’t complain and we agreed to go our separate ways.

The week after the breakup, I made a habit out of hanging out with Robbie. He still worked for Fitness Now and would keep me updated on what was happening there. My former highschool classmate, Brian was looking for work, so I talked to Aziz, and he allowed Brian to take my place at the store. Brian and Robbie hit it off, and sometimes the three of us would hang out.

Time passed and Jeremy called. He asked to see me. I agreed to meet him at a local restaurant where I habitually ordered a pint of beer and drank as I waited for him.

When he showed up, he got right to the point and told me that he wanted me back.

"Jeremy. You really don’t want me back. I have a feeling I’d end up cheating on you. Technically I already did. I just didn’t tell you about it because I was afraid you’d be angry at me. You really don’t want me back. Believe me."

When people say, "once a cheater, always a cheater," I don’t think it’s true. I have been in relationships where I have been happy and have felt absolutely no desire to cheat or look at anyone else. This relationship had not been one of them. I was no longer in love with Jeremy. That time had passed. It would be cruel of me to continue to lead him on.

I remember the crushed look on his face so I drank more. I felt like an absolute jerk. I had no idea that in 4 months I would begin to pay for everything very dearly. If there is a God up there, then he would punish me severely. But this was not my main concern at the time. I felt bad, yes, but life would go on. Any girl would be glad to have Jeremy, what the hell would he need me for? He’d be better off without me. He was heartbroken, and what goes around does come around. In time, I would get a very good taste of the pain I caused.

I had no idea things were coming to an end for me. I guess I lived life ‘hard and fast’ as my mom would put it, but I loved it. I no longer had any commitments, so I did whatever I wanted to do, and on the side I was looking for work, but I still had time. So I was really enjoying the freedom.

The summer of 2010 was beginning. Loupe called me one day. After the Markus incident, she was finally ready to talk and she made it clear that she really missed me. But that wasn’t it.

One day Travis sent me an e-mail asking me if I wanted to get in touch. Remember Travis? The boy I had fallen in love with when I was 13 and found out that we were born on the same day. I was beyond amazed. All of a sudden these 2 people I loved dearly wanted me in their lives.

I went to see Loupe first. 11 years had went by since I met her, and when I finally saw her I felt no time had passed. We were both sorry we let our friendship disintegrate. It was time to repair it.

Now I should mentioned that ever since my breakup with Trevor, I gained the ability to fall in and out of love easily. However, the one person I was never able to fall out of love with was Travis. About 13 years had passed, and I was still in love with him. So when he contacted me that summer I was out of work, it felt like my heart skipped a few beats. We came to the conclusion that we now lived only a 5 minute walk away from each other. He lived alone and I asked to see him. He agreed, and to calm my nerves, I naturally drank as much wine as I could with what time allotted me. Which was not a lot. He showed up at my apartment to get me. He came to the downstairs door and he was obviously a little drunk himself. I studied his face. Drunk yes. But this was the face I fell in love with... 13 years ago. He looked the same only older. If at first I was nervous beyond anything, knowing I was going to see him for the first time in 13 years, all of a sudden that was gone. My hands no longer shook. I felt very much at ease. We walked the short 5 minutes to his home and when we got there he asked me if I wanted a beer. I agreed of course, and wondered how after 13 years of not seeing him, I felt like I had spent all of my life with him. I felt that I was comfortable because this young man was a male version of me. We watched TV and sipped beer and he rested his head on my shoulder. I don’t remember the mathematics, but we came to the conclusion that I was a few hours older.

He told me he had had a common-law wife, and they had just recently broken up after 4 years of living together. So he was getting back into the dating world, but he had no interest in having a girlfriend. I told him this made sense and I understood. And I really did. I had just gotten out of a relationship myself. I knew that Travis would be the last person I would ever want to date. Meaning, if I ever dated him I would never want to date anyone after him. I could be a cheater, but I knew if I dated Travis I would sooner cut off a limb than look at another guy. I would not feel any desire for anyone else. Ever. If Travis was mine. I felt very comfortable with him.

I was sure of one thing, as sure as I was of the fact that one day I would be dead, that I would die still loving Travis. I petted his head as it rested on my shoulder, and he fell asleep. That was one of the best moments of my life. And I promised myself from then on I would do whatever I could to celebrate all of my birthdays with him. I found my other half. I found myself in male form. I realize I’m probably gushing, and within a year I would see how naive and blindly stupid I was.

Ticktock.

 

 

37

Loupe attached herself to my side. I no longer had a job, so I would babysit her son while she went away to work. This way she wouldn’t have to pay for a babysitter. Her son Muchacho (not his real name of course, just a nickname. I can’t for the life of me pronounce his real name correctly), would help me figure out how to microwave the food that was left for us. They were "Hungry-Man" entrees. He would then inform me that these were "Hungry-Man," therefore they were made for men. And I was not a man, so I should hand mine over. I did not disagree with this logic, and as I was not all that hungry I would always give him the remainder of mine. After all he was 7, and a growing boy. Loupe still lived with her mother and her 2 brothers, who would all leave for work during the day. So I would come over and look after her kid, during that summer of 2010. Her brother Eduardo would sometimes be the first to come home and when he did he would always hug me affectionately. He’d been like this since I was 16, when I used to come over to Loupe’s home after school. I know he took an interest in me back in highschool and even though 9 years had passed, he still seemed to feel the same. Loupe was convinced that he was in love with me. I didn’t really care. I did like the attention. Loupe’s son would be busy playing video games, so he didn’t require a lot of supervision. That summer I loved every minute of my existence. When Loupe came home, she would hug me and thank me for taking care of her son. I could be useful back then.

Shewas back in my life. After years of separation. After dating my ex-boyfriend, we decided to put all of that behind us, and she would tell me she loved me all the time. And I would tell her I loved her back.

At other times Travis would ask to see me. He would drive over, pick me up and drive me to his home. We’d watch TV and sip beer. Not very productive, but I had never felt such happiness in any part of my life before. I however was running out of time, and I had no clue. I would tell Travis that I loved him often, because I meant it. I didn’t care that he never said it back. He did say it once, but he was high and drunk out of his face. I know he didn’t mean it, but I took it. I had waited for 13 years for those words to come out of his mouth, and they finally did. So what if he was shit faced? I’ll take it.

Loupe didn’t approve of my love for him

"You gotta find someone who loves you back. He obviously doesn’t. Have you noticed he only wants to hang out with you when he’s drunk?"

"He’s always drunk. I love who I love. I can’t change that."

"You attract horrible guys like flies on shit."

"Am I the shit?"

"You are the shit."

Unfortunately that’s how it was, and it did pain me, but I didn’t know what real pain was back then. I would soon experience what can only be described as actual hell on earth.

And so we finally get there. In a short moment the life I was accustomed to would end. But I had no warning.

 

 

38

It was Friday, August 13, 2010, and at around 2:10pm Loupe texted me to tell me that she was home from work, and was wondering if I wanted to go out. To a restaurant maybe.

"I’d love it if you can come." I still have that text. It’s from another life. A better one. And I will keep it forever.

I wasn’t doing anything. I had finished sending out my resumes for the day, so I felt free. Nothing was chaining me down. I told my mom I was going out and would probably be back around 3am as usual. My mom was helping me fix my bikini to make it fit better. I was planning to go to the pool in the near future. My father was already home that day and told me later that he would remember that moment forever. He remembers that I was doing laundry. I had just hung up my last shirt to dry and put on my shoes. I waived goodbye and sped walked out of the apartment. My father would later tell me,

"That is the last time I saw you speed walk like that. It will most likely be the last time you ever speed walk." Months later I would process these words and cry bitterly understanding that he is absolutely right. He would also cry knowing that what he said was the unfortunate truth. But that day I sped walked out of the apartment for the last time. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. I rushed out of the building and started walking towards Loupe’s home to meet her half way. We would chose a restaurant when we met. I saw her only a few minutes into my walk. I then quickened my pace.

"How was work today?"

She rolled her eyes in response.

"How do you think? You’re lucky you don’t have to worry about that crap. Did you tell James we were meeting up?"

By now James and Loupe were my two closest friends. On weekends we would always see each other considering I had all the time in the world now to do this.

"He’s still at work. I was gonna send him a text."

"Yeah I was thinking, let’s go to ‘Symposium.’ We can share a pitcher and then send him a message to come over to my place after work. My mom and Eduardo are heading out for the weekend. Muchacho and Raul are gonna stick around. Raul just had the surgery on his nuts, so he’ll be sleeping and my kid will be playing video games. You know how he is. We’ll have the place to ourselves. It’ll be nice."

"Um hum. I know, it’s always nice with you."

We arrived at ‘Symposium’ and I texted James to let him know about our plans. We grabbed a pitcher. It was summer so we sat outside on the patio, that overlooked a bus terminal of all things. I smoked, and I drank, and I was in heaven. I watched Loupe fiddle around with her cell phone. The air was nice. Humid and hot, just the way I liked it. I basked in the heat. James replied via text saying that he would meet us at Loupe’s home when he was done with work, at around 6pm.

I reported this to Loupe, and she suggested we get the bill and head to the nearest beer store so we could pick up a case for the evening. I eagerly agreed and signed the check.

We got everything we wanted and headed to her place. We arrived just after 4pm, and Eduardo was still home. He was with his friend Tomas, and they were getting ready to go to out. Muchacho had adjusted himself to the living room couch with his hand held game, and Raul was in his bedroom recovering from his operation, a little high on the morphine pain killers the Doctor had prescribed. I cringed at the thought of what he must have gone through. Granted, I do not have testicles, but I do however have an imagination. Eduardo and Tomas were getting a little tipsy and would often go out on the balcony to drink their beer and have a smoke, while continuing some debate that I saw as being pretty pointless. Loupe and I sat on the couch to watch TV, and she passed me a can of beer that we bought. A commercial for Canada’s Wonderland came on.

"I love that place. I’m crazy about roller coasters," I commented.

"I really like it too. We should go."

"Yeah. When?"

"I donno... tomorrow? I’m not doing anything."

"Yeah. Awesome! I’ll just havethis beer and that’s it. I don’t know if there is anything worse than having a hangover and going on a roller coaster." I smirked, and she gave me a grossed out look, and rested her head on my shoulder. I was excited about ‘tomorrow,’ having no idea that this tomorrow would never come. I happily sipped the rest of my beer.

I noticed that she had a very nice butterfly ring on her finger and commented on it. She quickly took it off and proceeded to see if it would fit on any of my fingers. It fit the ring finger perfectly.

"Ha! It fits. There. That’s settled. You shall now be my wife," she said jokingly and we laughed. I hugged her, and thanked her. I felt loved. This time tomorrow I would no longer have the ring on my finger. After a few hours I would never see it again. But I didn’t know this, and she didn’t know this, and so we were happy lost in a moment.

I sipped my beer, and there was a knock on the door. I knew it was James, and I jumped up from my seat. Loupe followed me. I opened the door to greet him. We hugged before he came into the apartment.

"Want a beer?" Loupe asked.

"Sure," James replied as he took off his shoes.

Eduardo and Tomas decide to meet up with their friends at a friend’s house at about the same time, so the front door stayed open from when James came in, and closed after Eduardo and Tomas left. Eduardo as always reached for me and hugged me goodbye.

He left and Loupe said,

"You know he loves you?" I smiled.

So at that point it was just Loupe, James, Raul in recovery, Muchacho, and me in the apartment. Muchacho was prepared for bed, so James, Loupe and I tried to stay quite and busy ourselves. We laughed watching a TV show.


© Copyright 2018 Criss Sole. All rights reserved.

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